7 cybersecurity risks of remote work and how to address them

FortiEDR online security

7 cybersecurity risks of remote work and how to address them Reading time: 12 mins

The recent surge in remote work culture brings with it an array of benefits. Its key offerings are flexibility and convenience for employees, not to mention the reduction of office costs for employers. There’s also a compelling argument around productivity, as remote work cuts down on distractions, resulting in a remarkable 56% decrease in unproductive time.

However, transitioning to a remote or hybrid work model does present its own set of challenges. One of the more pressing issues lies in the realm of cybersecurity. In a remote environment, ensuring robust device and network security becomes complex. Indeed, about 63% of businesses have experienced a data breach due to remote employees.

Yet, this shouldn’t force a choice between remote work benefits and security. It is entirely possible to strike a balance by understanding and addressing cybersecurity issues. In the following section, we delve into the primary cybersecurity risks associated with remote work and offer practical solutions to tackle these.

Check out this article by Fortinet on remote work and cyber security.

Navigating Cybersecurity Risks and Remedies in Remote Work

The Peril of Weak Passwords and Absence of Multi-Factor Authentication Weak and reused passwords across different accounts pose a significant threat, especially as remote workers often access sensitive corporate resources from various devices. To counter this, employees should adopt strong, unique passwords for each account and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Businesses can leverage access management systems to automate authentication and introduce additional safeguards such as contextual MFA.

The Threat of Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Remote work often entails connecting to diverse Wi-Fi networks, including potentially insecure public hotspots or home networks. This vulnerability can be mitigated by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which encrypts internet traffic to ensure data security, even on untrusted networks.

The Danger of Phishing Attacks

Remote workers are particularly susceptible to phishing attacks, which lure users into revealing login credentials or downloading malicious attachments. To thwart these, employees need to exercise caution when dealing with emails from unknown sources, and avoid clicking on suspicious links. They should verify senders’ email addresses and reach out to their IT support team for any clarifications.

The Risk of Insecure Home Network Devices

Insecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including smart speakers, home security systems, and thermostats, can introduce vulnerabilities into home networks. To mitigate this risk, remote workers should change default passwords on IoT devices, keep them updated with the latest firmware, and consider isolating them from work devices and data on a separate “guest” network. Businesses can also enhance security through endpoint device management solutions, such as Microsoft Intune.

The Pitfall of Neglected Security Updates

The importance of regular security updates cannot be overstated. Outdated software is an easy target for cybercriminals. Remote workers should enable automatic updates and install them promptly to stay protected.

The Consequence of Poor Data Backup and Recovery

The considerable amount of data generated and managed by remote workers necessitates robust data backup and recovery plans. Regular backup to secure cloud storage or an external hard drive can help prevent data loss and ensure quick restoration.

The Drawback of Inadequate Employee Training

Cybersecurity training is essential for remote workers to understand and manage security risks. Yet, this critical aspect often gets overlooked, leaving employees vulnerable. Comprehensive cybersecurity training covering identification of phishing emails, creating strong passwords, and recognizing suspicious online behavior’s is a must.

Conclusion – Boosting Your Remote Team’s Cybersecurity

While remote work is loaded with advantages, it is equally important to address the associated cybersecurity risks proactively. By implementing the recommended measures, you can foster a safe remote working environment. If you require further assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re here to help you navigate these challenges.

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